$34.3m Fraud: How First Lady’s Impersonators Were Arrested- Police

$34.3m Fraud: How First Lady’s Impersonators Were Arrested-Police
A police detective, Mr. Musa Naneri, a Superintendent of Police, Tuesday, narrated before a Federal High Court, Lagos, how suspected three-man fraud syndicate, who specialized in defrauding foreigners with the use of the name of Nigeria first lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, were arrested with foods and beers.
The alleged syndicates are: Uche Anyanwu Julius, Kenneth Chikwado Ezeonu and Agu Ifeanyi.
Uche, Kenneth and Agu who also bears Muslim names of Musa Muhammad; Abdul Karim and Dr. Lima Norman respectively are standing trial before Justice Nicholas Oweibo led-court on charges bordering on a 17 count-charge of conspiracy, forgery, cybercrime and fraud of $34. 325, 500 million fraud.
Police in the charge marked FHC/L/392c/18, alleged that the three men committed the offences between August 2015 and October 2018.
The police alleged that Uche, a resident of 10, Hassan Idowu Street, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos and his team members conspired among themselves to commit the act.
While Uche was alleged to have defrauded his victim of total sum of $20.5 million, Kenneth and Agu were said to have swindled their victims of the sum of $324.800, 00 USD.
They were also accused of forging electronic messages claimed to have emanated from Mrs. Buhari, for the formalisation and revocation of the United States Financial impropriety, among others, which they used in defrauding their victims.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Barrister Tijjani Williams, are contrary to Sections 8(a) and punishable under Section 1(3), 22 (2) (h)  of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
All the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and admitted to bail in various terms and conditions.
At the resumed trial of the defendants, Supol Musa attached to Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (ForceCIID) Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, while being led in evidence by the prosecutor, Tijjani, told the court how the leader of the gang, Uche was arrested at a foods and drinks joint.
He said: “after conclusion of our investigation and he had opened up about the fraud we are able to detect where his (Uche) location was, we moved down to the place and he was called to join us at a joint for item seven because he has love for Guilder and as he showed up we arrested him. He made a confessional statement that he was into financial fraud.
“He stated in his statement how he defrauded white men whom he called ‘Mugu”.
The witness who is the first to be called in the matter further told the court Uche’s arrest led to the arrest of Agu on October 21, 2018.
He said: “on October 21, moved Uche to his residence at Aguda, Surulere, to execute a search warrant, the search was witnessed by Uche’s wife and his three sons, where we stumbled on a piece of paper with inscription ‘Aisha Buhari Gmail and underneath it has ‘Her Excellence’. When probed of the discovery, he said he had used the name to swindle many white men from Italy, Germany and many others of Dollars.
“When we wanted to take him (Uche)back to Alagbon, Uche said he can’t go down alone with this case, he has many syndicates and he pointed to a storey building, where the third defendant, Agu was living and he took us there.
“Upon reaching there, we met Agu, his wife and their daughter, then I introduced myself and my team and we told him that we wanted to meet him. As we were going, Uche (Ifeanyi) jumped the fence with his laptop and I saw the second defendant, Kenneth, dropping something in the waste bin, it was his laptop.
“Kenneth, the second defendant was taken back to Agu (third defendant) and Agu wife identified Kenneth as Agu’s friend. That was how we arrested all of them”.
Supol Musa also told the court that through, he is not all that computer literate, but a suspect, named Ifeanyi Lakatai, who is a computer guru, assisted in opening Kenneth’s laptop and Uche’s phone and we discovered series of documentary evidence.
The witness also informed the court that two weeks after, Uche alongside his counsel, reported at the office and his laptop was also opened and another series of fraud committed was discovered.
He also told the court that the syndicate do not defraud their victims with their real names but have Muslim’s names they used in defrauding their victims.
He also said, the gang leader, Uche told his team that he used parts of the fraud proceeds to build a 3-bedroom bungalow in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as well as bought a neat Sienna car for N1.1 million.
He also told the court that his team discovered a series of United Bank PLC (UBA) pay-in-slips (teller) which are used in withdrawing the proceeds of fraud by Uche’s wife. He said the fraud victims usually paid the money into Uche’s wife’s account with UBA.
When asked of the whereabouts of the exhibit (laptops, phone, cars and the documentary evidence), the witness said they are with the exhibits keeper who was unable to make it to the office today.
Following the inability to produce the exhibits, the prosecutor, Mr. Tijjani, asked the court for a short adjournment.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned till March 31, for continuation of trial





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